The soccer team will play its two most important games of the season this weekend. And they are going to be doing it for us.
When the team started 0-7-1 to begin the year, many CMU soccer experts, myself included, predicted the 2013 campaign was a lost cause.
Shows how much I know.
Since grabbing their first victory of the season on Sept. 27, the Chippewas have gone 4-2 and are near the middle of the pack in the Mid-American Conference West heading into this weekend’s action. Something changed with this team when MAC play started at Kent State. But why?
Surely at some point after senior leaders Jennifer Gassman and Kaely Schlosser were lost to season-ending injury, there were some CMU soccer players that knew getting wins in the conference would not be easy. The team has been exposed to negativity and tragedy before the season even began when sophomore midfielder Josie Seebeck was killed in a car accident a week before training camp opened.
Even after losing every game they played during the first month of the season, the Chippewas refused to let tragedy and misfortune define them.
Giving up would have been easy, but not for these Chippewas.
Perhaps it was the arrival of the MAC season. First year head coach Peter McGahey has sung the praises of his teams resiliency since the first week of the season. The only thing lacking was results.
With two wins over the two worst teams in the conference, the Chippewas made it clear no one should be sorry for them. Through all the darkness, the Chippewas are committed to finding the light of success.
If this was a Hollywood film, the Chippewas would ride off into the sunset with a MAC championship this year. The craziest thing is: That is still a possibility.
But games against Buffalo and Akron could get in the way of that storybook ending if CMU fails to capitalize on the momentum of their recent success in conference play.
Forward Kaelyn Korte called this weekend “crucial.” Team leading-scorer Laura Gosse called it “critical.” The Chippewas know how big a difference lies between a conference record of 6-2 and 4-4 with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season.
McGahey has always been the first to admit that the women can always improve and are constantly learning about their tendencies and roles on this team. The Chippewas were the only MAC team that entered conference play without a victory in 2013. Somehow, someway, they have a chance to earn the right to call themselves one of the top teams in the MAC.
But don’t tell the Chippewas that. They are too busy acting as an inspiration to student athletes all over this campus.
In football or basketball, every once in a while we get an Antonio Brown or an Eric Fisher. A guy we at CMU latch on to and call him “our guy.”
Instead, what we have with this year’s women’s soccer team is something more than that. We have an entire team that was unwilling to listen to the criticism or look at the rankings. We have a team that acts together, to represent us and to bring us pride.
We have our team. And our team is not done fighting yet.